Let's trade faux polarization, which only serves the interests of power, for the real McCoy.
From the Washington Post:
The president's recently departed budget director is joining Citigroup.
The New York Federal Reserve Bank's derivatives expert is joining Goldman Sachs.
And numerous investigators from the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are joining Wall Street's top law firms.
The vast overhaul of financial regulations and the renewed intensity of investigations into white-collar crime has been a boon for regulators, prosecutors and financial policymakers looking to cash in on their government experience and contacts.
In recent months, prominent officials from the White House, Justice Department, SEC, banking regulators and other agencies, both federal and state, have been walking through the proverbial revolving door to join Goldman, Citi, other financial companies and top law firms in Washington and New York.
The corporate state is alive and well.
Cuba banned Michael Moore's 2007 documentary, Sicko, because it painted such a"mythically" favourable picture of Cuba's healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a"popular backlash", according to US diplomats in Havana.
The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.
But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so"disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room".
Castro's government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it"knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them."
The rest of the Guardian's story is here.
UPDATE: Moore replies:
Sounds convincing, eh?! There's only one problem -- the entire nation of Cuba was shown the film on national television on April 25, 2008! The Cubans embraced the film so much so it became one of those rare American movies that received a theatrical distribution in Cuba. I personally ensured that a 35mm print got to the Film Institute in Havana. Screenings of 'Sicko' were set up in towns all across the country. In Havana, 'Sicko' screened at the famed Yara Theater.The lesson? Be skeptical of anything originating within the U.S. government.
The best thing I've read about the English student protests against reduced government subsidies for higher education is here. In"A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste," Kevin Carson writes:
Aren’t these just a bunch of spoiled brats, throwing a tantrum when they’re cut off from the taxpayer teat?
British students, like those in America, are hit from two directions under the state capitalist model: First, by government interventions that inflate the amount of the “education” commodity they’re forced to consume in order to make a decent living. And second, by government interventions that inflate the cost of procuring it.
So government has placed students in a double bind in which relying on government tuition subsidies is the only way out.
What does Carson propose?
The answer, first, is to eliminate all state-mandated licensing and credentialing, all college and technical school accreditation, and to dismantle higher education as a conveyor belt for processing human raw material for delivery to the appropriate HR department.
Educational offerings should be driven, on a demand-pull basis, by the desires of students, while all the state-created artificial scarcities that cause the wage labor market to be a buyer’s market should be eliminated.
Second, we should eliminate the high-overhead, cost-plus culture that predominates in the university (as in all other large institutions of state capitalist society).
There's more. So read the full article.
I will be participating in an online discussion about the appropriate libertarian position on the 1964 Civil Rights Act as part of the Cato Unbound series. David Bernstein of George Mason University Law School has kicked it off with his essay here. My response will be posted Friday, followed by other responses to Bernstein from Jason Kuznicki of Cato and Jeffrey Miron of Harvard University. After that there will be a series of short comments by the participants, beginning with Bernstein's rebuttal.
It should be a lively discussion. So get started now.
The standard libertarian answer is, "Yes, although I don't approve of the racist policy."
I say, "No. He shouldn't be allowed."
He shouldn't be allowed, but it's not the literal force of government or private parties that should disallow it. It's the metaphorical force of social pressure -- led by libertarians, of course -- that should disallow it.
There, that's cleared up. Next controversy.
Libertarianism = Anti-racism
Despite what some popular right-wing talk-show hosts claim, Barack Obama is not pushing Marxism, revolutionary or otherwise. He’s pushing good old American progressive-corporate elitism.
Read TGIF here.
[I]ntellectual property does not increase innovation and creation. Extending IP rights may modestly boost the incentive for innovation, but this positive effect is wiped away by the negative effect of creating monopolies. There is simply no evidence that strengthening patent regimes increases innovation or economic productivity. In fact, some evidence shows that increased protection even decreases innovation. The main finding is that making it easier to get patents increases … patenting!
Happily, you need not invest the next few weeks of your life reading the 1,990-page House overhaul of the health-insurance -- and by implication, the healthcare -- industry. A convenient summary has been provided, compliments of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.
To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled that the American people shall henceforth be:
Watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. ... [A]t every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. ... [U]nder pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, ... place[d] under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored.
All in favor say aye. The rest of you can go to hell.
Neither Ms. Ostrom nor Mr. Williamson has argued against regulation. Quite the contrary, their work found that people in business adopt for themselves numerous forms of regulation and rules of behavior — called “governance” in economic jargon — doing so independently of government or without being told to do so by corporate bosses.
Note the key equivocation over the word regulation. Most people use that word to mean government interference with private market activity. So the Times at first seems to be saying that Ostrom and Williamson do not oppose such government interference. Maybe they don't, but that's not what the Times goes on to say. Instead, it says that both have shown that people often generate their own efficient rules -- governance -- independent of the State (and corporate authority).
It's as though the reporter said,"Neither has argued against taxation. Quite the contrary, they found that people use market prices to pay producers for their efforts."
What the Times reportermisses is that spontaneously evolved bottom-up rules are to be distinguished from top-down government regulation, which statists believe is indispensable. The former results from voluntary interaction by people on the spot, the latter from coercion by a central elite. The reporter seems more interested in getting in a subtle dig at the free market, which is alleged to be"unregulated." Of course it isn't, as I point out here.
That's right. The industry wants the government to force us to buy its product and to impose harsh penalties on those who refuse. The companies, which oddly are demonized by the "reform" crowd, are happy to accept all kinds of coverage rules in return for captive customers and guaranteed income.
If I may be so presumptuous as to edit Adam Smith:
People of the same trade seldom meet together with government officials, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
Had I been a resident of Chicago, I would have said, Barack, Michelle, Oprah, mind your own business.
Rio, you have my condolences.
Rep. Maxine Waters of California admits that members of Congress don't read the bills they vote on. (Of course, we already knew this.) She made the confession during an interview Friday with Norah O'Donnell on MSNBC. The subject of the interview was the provision in"stimulus" bill that prohibited interference with contractual bonuses at bailed-out companies. O'Donnell pressed Waters to say if she realized that prohibition was in the bill she voted for, and Waters admitted she did not. O'Donnell vented frustration that members of Congress are ignorant about contents of legislation. Waters explained that she and other members read the"important" parts and are mainly concerned with the amount being spent and the beneficiaries. She said they rely on staff to feed them information. When O'Donnell questioned that procedure, Waters misdirected the interview by asking O'Donnell if she reads every word of the newspaper. (As though that were relevant.) Then she asked O'Donnell if she read every word of her mortgage. Unfortunately, O'Donnell let the interview wind down instead of going in for the kill. She could have pointed out that when a person fails to read her own mortgage, she may harm herself, but congressmen vote on things that affect everyone, using money extracted forcibly by taxation, and that no one is permitted to opt out. Congressmen are largely unaccountable because any single voter's" clout" is negligible.
As Mario Rizzo has wondered, if our alleged representatives don't know what is in the laws they pass, in what sense can we be said to have consented to be governed by them?
Watch the interview for yourself: